Day 46 Catlin’s
Today I leave Invercargill and head to the Catlin’s region at the bottom south east of the island. Leaving the camp ground I had to make one last stop in town. After going to see the legend Bert Munro’s bikes yesterday, I went and had to have a look at the memorial sculpture in Gala St reserve. The slightly larger than life bronze sculpture of Burt in his happy place, riding his record breaking Indian Motorcycle. A few pictures and time to head out of town.
Off to the Catlin’s. Heading down the Southern scenic highway I get to Fortrose, a very small town, this is where I turn off the main road and take the country roads around the coast. Not far from Fortrose is Waipapa point, home to one of New Zealand’s light houses and healthy population of Sealions. Unfortunately, the light house is getting a bit of a paint job so not really any good photo opportunity there, I take a little track around the back and down onto the beach. Around the little bay I come across a couple of Spotted Shags (endemic birds to New Zealand) 1 by 1, more and more fly in, there must have been 50 of them just on the water’s edge enjoying the sun, they didn’t seem to mind me been there.
I carry on around, walking around bunches of Kelp washed up, something moved just in front of me. A couple of meters ahead of me was a massive Sealion, it gave me such a fright, I slowly turned around and gave it a bit of space. There are plenty of signs saying stay at least 10m away from the wild life and I wasn’t going to argue with this this monster. He seemed to be loving catching a few rays from the hot sun, but hating the annoying seagulls trying to land on top of him.
I head back around to the light house making sure I don’t disturb any more Lions of the sea. As I get to the other side a see a bit of a crowd gathering so I head over to inspect. Its three sealions playing around in the water, by the looks its mum, dad and their pup, jumping around, chasing each other and surfing the waves back to the beach, showing off for the crowd. Was pretty cool to see them free in the wild and enjoying themselves. After spending way to long watching them it was time to carry on.
Heading further east, the road turns to gravel and little bit of rally driving, drifting around the corners, getting airborne over the humps, oh wait that was last night’s dream. I mean driving slowly and carefully in the mighty van, I decide to do a hike and see some waterfalls. The Waipohatu Falls are first on the list to see in the Catlin’s. The reviews say they are nice falls but the 3-hour long track can be a bit muddy. Ah yeah you could say it was a really muddy, the track started off nice but half way in, I was making my own track next to the proper mud pit.
Slipping and sliding through the mud I made it to the Falls, they were quite impressive, a tall narrow one at the top with a smaller one further downstream. I get joined by a couple of other mud covered waterfall lovers and we spend a bit of time photographing the falls. Time to make our way back down another path, hoping this one was a lot better, but our wishes didn’t come true and I’m sure this track was even worse, in the end I just gave up trying to keep out of the mud and just walked the track. Laughing our way through the bush we finally make it out the other side. And head to the cars and clean ourselves up.
Carrying on I finally get off the gravel roads and arrive at Curio bay. This is where you can find a petrified Forest along the shore line at low tide and if you’re lucky some yellow eyed penguins, but it’s close to high tide so I have to give it a miss. On the other side of the peninsula is Porpoise bay, home to some of the Hector dolphins, I wasn’t having much luck today as I didn’t see any. Time to head for camp. I’m going to stay at the Waikawa freedom camp. Nice little spot just on the edge of Waikawa harbour. Tomorrow explore a bit more of the Catlin’s and find some more waterfalls.